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Happy Holidays

“Happy holidays, now give us all your money.” Another festive season, another land grab(oops!) to get the coins out of our pockets and into the cash registers faster than you can say “Check or savings?” As the festive season approaches and we rush to spend our hard-earned bonuses I think it is worth taking a look at the way we plan on spending our money, that’s if we do plan at all. Much hype is leveled in the way of encouraging entrepreneurship by government and the private sector, yet not much focus is put on educating our general public about good consumption as a whole to support these businesses. Instead we are led to believe buying more stuff from big retail will somehow make us better off. The irony is this could not be further from the truth in most cases. The unemployment and poverty stats are well known yet we continue to wait for some miracle to save us from poverty, unfortunately for most of us that day will never be realized. What we can do however is create and sustain our own local economies if we just shift towards spending a fraction of our income on local entrepreneurs/small businesses. Although some consumer items may require specialist big box store spending, there are some items we can buy locally within our communities such as fresh produce, meat and poultry, and various other services provided locally. This is not a new concept to us yet time and time again we go outside to major malls and centers to spend exorbitant amounts on stuff we don’t always need and in some cases, we never get the proper treatment or appreciation for spending our Rands in such places. All this said, local small businesses need to also invest in good quality products as well as an exceptional customer service approach to maintain our business, it’s a two-way street at the end of the day. For once I would like to see businesses other than alcohol and entertainment related ventures being patronized, to show our youth there are more than just a few options. This can only be done consistently when we hold each other up high and push each other forward by voting for each other with our wallets and purses. Much noise has been made in recent years of foreigners “invading” our communities with businesses selling lower quality goods, yet we do not learn from their tenacity and drive to succeed due to our short sightedness and lavish lifestyle distractions. This of course is a generalization of sorts but is true in many cases, especially when it is constantly put on display in our townships and cities as a visual mark of success (see also the term balloon payment). If we could put the hard work on display instead, the future would look much brighter for many more of us, but hey what am I saying, its black Friday today, I might need a PS4 for my 3-year-old or some cheap 50 inch TV to watch United lose again. Happy shopping.